James's Reviews > Wizard of the Crow

Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
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's review
Sep 10, 07

bookshelves: translation

I have a thing for books that create their own mythologies, and Wizard of the Crow has risen to the top of that list. Set in a fictional African country, this novel takes a serious romp through a stretch of land containing a Postcolonial dictatorship at odds with its people, hysterically played out through a young couple claiming to be The Wizard of the Crow, a sorcerer capable of knowing even The Ruler's deepest secret, the guilt of "white envy," by divination through a mirror. I realize this review sounds like bad jacket copy, and fails to capture even the slightest amount of subtlety, truth, or the vast geopolitical landscape at work here. This is an amazing book, and like so many of the best, is funny and sad simultaneously. There is a wonderful kind of magical realism at work here, a world I was happy to occupy while reading it, one that often seemed more real than the political surrealism we're surrounded with everyday.
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